Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Isn't She Lovely

Well, Joseph obviously thinks I have more of a life than I really do, because while he is away I have the privilege of being a guest blogger! It is at this time that I will SHAMELESSLY plug my own blog where you can go and see tons more pictures of my sweet little Paigey because I know you will not get tired of the ones I am about to share.

As I type this, I should be packing for vacation. We leave tomorrow for Colorado and well if there is one thing I am good at stalling at, it's packing. Too many decisions and I end up packing my entire closet into one much to large suitcase, where I will inevitably have to pay a fee for my bag being overweight at the airport. Hmm..ramble much?

For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure in life of meeting me, I am Mallory - Joseph's best friend. (No offense to all you lesser friends out there) Just kidding. Sort of.

I spent a while today thinking about what I wanted to write about, and while I could tell you all about the time I paraded around Crockett in a pair of pink Uggs and a skirt that was way too short, or the time Joseph saw a ghost in our hotel room in Paris, or the time that I lost it completely with the ignorant staff at TreinItalia, or even the many times Joseph and I cheated at Phase 10, I won't. Instead, I will lead you into the weekend with one of the sweetest faces on the planet:

my daughter. :) 
It doesn't get cuter than these pictures, people, so hang on to your hats. You are in for the treat of a lifetime.

we love big flowers and bows around our house!

She's sassy. I have no idea where she gets it from. But if you had leopard pj's with a ruffle butt, wouldn't you be too?!?

modeling her winter apparel in Arkansas where it was like -4 degrees. I love Texas for it's winters. 

Not only do we love a good flower, we love a good tutu.

Just hanging out in Crockett for the day with her good friend.

Joseph helping out when she was just a wee little three month old. 

Does it get cuter I ask you? I think not.

They are meant to be the best of friends. One day when I am no longer cool, I can count on Uncle Joseph to be there.

And just for good measure, one of us.

Monday, June 28, 2010

C'est si bon

Get ready for some touristy touristy photos!!!  These are actually divided up by different days, as you will notice two different outfits, but I thought it might be easier to combine them into one post for expediency's sake.  Because if you know Expediency like I do, she can be a fickle femme sometimes.

Once we landed in Paris and unloaded all of our luggage, both literal and emotional, we hopped on the tour bus with our German driver, Peter, and headed to La Ville-Lumière.  Obviously the first stop was the grande dame herself, the Eiffel Tower. Apparently one of the counselors saw a camper crying on the bus and went over to see what was wrong. Basically this was the conversation:

Ellen: Hey, is everything okay?
Camper: I just don't want to be like all those other stereotypical American tourist and embarass myself while in the French culture.
Ellen: Ummm, honey you're gonna have to get over that really quickly.  We are a group of seventy plus teenagers from Michigan wearing uniforms and traveling on a double decker bus. You're not going to blend in so just accept that for the next three weeks you are a tourist. Okay? Perfect.

So in embracing my inner obnoxious American... here are some hits from PARIS.

This ain't Vegas, baby

A view from the bridge. So maybe it's the wrong bridge, but I think Arthur Miller would be proud, nonetheless

Don't like the real one? How about one made of Louis Vuitton luggage! Sabrina and I were just meandering around the streets of Paris and somehow ended up in the ritzy shopping part of town.  And by meandering I mean sniffed it out. And by Sabrina I mean me.

That's MY name!!!

Look at me, Sabrina!

The good life. Well, except for Creepy McFrencherstien in the background.  (That's a French name, right?)

Paris trip Part Deux: Joseph Strikes Again occured on our day off from performances, and though the culture minister warned us that there were going to be strikes all day, a couple of us decided to risk taking the train and go anyway. Lucky for us there were absolutely no problems at all! Emily's (the mezzo soloist... keep up people, I don't want to have to keep explaining) host sister, Mathilde, acted as our guide and took us all over.

Mathilde right before we left Sucy. Why does no one look at the camera in France!?!?!

Croque madame, pomme frites and an espresso for lunch

"Stop! Here is the empire of the dead."
The catacombs of Paris

Down down we go

I'm pretty sure I read that at it's lowest, one can go thirty stories below the streets of Paris. Don't believe me? Then look it up!! (Please don't, I completely made that fact up. Just call me Sarah Palin.)

Mqthilde told us that this graffiti and others like it are signs to lead people to secret parties that are held there... several of which she has attended


And now the real thing

"Oh yes... I have a summer home in Paris"

Yup... that would be a cross made out of skulls. SLEEP WELL!

Quite a breath of fresh air: Notre Dame


Oooh artsy

Myself, Mathilde, Jullian (another resident of Sucy), Emily, and Sabrina outside of Notre Dame

The reason one goes to Notre Dame on a Sunday

The Sacré Coeur

And finally.... a view of Paris from the steps of the Sacré Coeur

Sunday, June 27, 2010


This is a guest post from Joseph's one-and-only sister-in-law Joanie!  While Joseph is off travelling the globe, he asked me to do a guest post for him...of my interesting life here stuck at home!  I have a blog where I basically just post pictures and stories of my adorable son, so since that's what I do best, that's what I'll do here!

Here's a few from a visit to see Joseph's grandfather:

And a few from a visit to Joseph's hometown...

This one he is saying goodbye as his granddad leaves for work.

And Joseph isn't the only musical genius in the family!  It's genetic!

I think we can all recognize those rolled-up sleeves pushing this kid on his car!

And then here we are, stuck at a small-town church in an ice storm.  What a Christmas memory!  He'll have to do a separate post about that sometime. 
So that's all I've got!  Are you just completely in love with my son now?  Isn't he the most adorable child you've ever seen?  If the answer is no, I don't really need to know that.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Best of all Possible Worlds

WELL... Bonjour from France and all that other pretentious "I am touring around Europe for free and you are not" kind of stuff ;-) I am currently writing to you from Obernais, France but will be talking more about my experiences here at some other time because there is a bit of blog catching up to do!

The first stop on our Blue Lake extravaganza tour was Sucy-en-Brie, a suburb on the south eastern side of Paris. We arrived at the Espace Jean-Marie Poirier, which is where the cinema and other halls are located near the city center, unloaded, and went into one of the theaters and were told to sit and as our names were called we would meet our host families.

Where we met our families and where our Elijah concert was held

SO... name after name and I still hadn't been called and I started getting a little worried. Finally all of the people had been matched with his or her families and one of the people in charge says to me: your family is not here BUT I will have someone for you shortly. This is literally after a four hour bus ride from the camp to Chicago O'Hare airport, a long wait there, an eight hour plane ride and then a bus to Paris where we did some sight seeing (more on that in another post as well), then another bus ride from Paris to Sucy. Needless to say I was not in the best of spirits to find out that I didn't have a place to sleep for the next several days.

Then, like the Musketeer his students nicknamed him, d'Artagnan Stéphane came to the rescue and told me that I could stay at his house with his family (Valérie, their daughter Emma and son Samuel). On the way to his car he told me that though his English was very bad, Valérie's once taught English for business people and would be able to translate if needed. Now, I have learned this a little in my past travels around Europe, but if someone over here tells you they don't speak English very well-- don't believe them.  Even though some of his verb conjugations, articles, etc were a little off, I could still understand him better than some of these mumbling kids from the camp.  Stéphane is the vice princepal of the high school, Lycée Christophe Colomb, and Valérie owns Lullaby an adorable shoe store in the center of town.

Valérie took me around town and showed me a lot of the sights:

Church (duh)

Music Conservatory.  Take THAT Moore building at the University of Michigan

Imagine that this whole store is full of chocolate!  Okay good.... because IT IS

A cute childrens store run by Valérie's friend Louise

Valérie's store

Emily getting her drink on!

pour mon père

But of course the whole reason for this trip is that I got to perform Elijah, and it is so bizzare and amazing and surreal to say that I have now had my European début.  Each town that we go to will have a different conductor as well as local choirs joining the campers.

After the performance with Maestro Fabrice, Sabrina Laney Warren, Emily Goodwin, and John Nevergall

Besdies having a fantastic first performance of Elijah in Europe, the best best part of the trip was getting to know Stéphane, Valérie and the kids. It may sound a bit odd to say this after only knowing them for three days, but I ABSOLUTELY adore their family.  Why couldn't we spend the entire three weeks in Sucy!?!?!? To be fair though, I am sure they were ready to get back to life as normal.  I slept in their son, Samuel's, room so he must be happy to have his bed back!

The area they live is directly behind the high school and some of the other families in neighborhood were hosting Blue Laker's as well, so Stéphane and Valérie decided to throw us a bar-b-que our last night in town.  It was the perfect ending to a perfect couple of days, and I will never forget the evening of my first performance in Europe!!!!!!!!

SO much good food! (As an antictdotal side note- after our first meal at the house they brought out a wonderful assortment of cheeses and Stéphane told me that if I did not like a certain kind that was from his region of France then I would have to sleep in the woods like at the camp! Luckily for me I loved it!!)

And this is just PART of the dessert

L to R: Samuel, Stéphane, Joseph, Valérie, Emma
"tous pour un, un pour tous"

I feel so lucky that my host family DIDN'T show up and I got to spend my time in Sucy with what I consider the modern classic French family!!!! Unfortunately I think they have spoiled me because I do not think it is possible to have a better family for the entire remainder of the trip! So deal with it, Germany, you have a lot to live up to.